BIRMINGHAM, Ala. — On Tuesday, the Southeastern Conference announced its 2014 men’s cross country awards and three members of the Arkansas men’s cross country team were selected with an honor, as senior Stanley Kebenei was named the SEC Runner of the Year, freshman Alex George was selected as the SEC Co-Freshman of the Year and head coach Chris Bucknam was named the SEC Coach of the Year.
Kebenei’s SEC Runner of the Year awards marks the second straight season that Arkansas has had an athlete win the conference’s top individual honor, as Kemoy Campbell brought home the distinction last year. It is the first time Kebenei has won the award and he is the 12th athlete in program history to be named the SEC Runner of the Year.
It’s been a banner year for the Kenyan native, as he won the SEC Cross Country Individual Title, earned his second consecutive All-SEC first team honor, picked up two event titles and has placed inside the top 10 in every race he has ran this year.
The 2013 NCAA All-American posted a season-best 8-kilometer of 23:49.27 at the SEC Cross Country Championship his last time out to run away from competition and not only win the race, but post the third-fastest time in SEC Cross Country Championship history. His time at the SEC Championship is currently is the fastest 8K time by an SEC runner this season.
George, a freshman from Gloucester, Great Britain burst onto the scene this year for the Razorbacks, as he placed inside the scoring rotation in all five meets this season. He gave Arkansas its highest finish at the Iona Meet of Champions with his second-place finish.
George has been one of the stronger freshman runners this season inside the SEC, as he was named the conference’s Freshman Runner of the Week three times. He was the second frosh to cross the finish line at the SEC Cross Country Championship, as his time of 24:46.10 put him 10th overall. Mississippi’s Sean Tobin, who won the other half of the SEC Freshman of the Year Award, was the only freshman to place higher than George at the SEC Championships.
For head coach Chris Bucknam, this year’s SEC Coach of the Year honor marks the fifth straight distinction for the head man and it is the 20th time that an Arkansas coach has won the conference’s top honor for coaches.
The Razorbacks will be back in action on Friday, as they will host the 2014 NCAA South Central Regional at Agri Park. Arkansas will be looking to grab one of the two automatic team bids this weekend, as the two top teams will advance to the NCAA National Championship in Terre Haute, Ind., on Nov. 22. Race time is slated for 1 p.m.
For more information on the Arkansas women’s cross country team, follow @RazorbackTF on Twitter.